New ways to boost your brain power

The latest simple tips to amp up your memory and stay sharp.
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Stay-sharp secrets

Feeling scatterbrained? Simple solutions such as snacking on blueberries can improve your brain health. Here are the latest tips that will amp up your memory.

--By Susan Hall for Health.com

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You sleep, you win

If you've got a big presentation tomorrow, you'll remember your speech better and dazzle the audience if, instead of cramming until the sun comes up, you get at least six hours of sleep, a study in the journal Learning and Memory suggests. Researchers don't know exactly why, but they think sleep may help your brain consolidate and organize information so that it comes back to you correctly. Lights out!

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Snack on some nuts

Nuts of all kinds are full of magnesium, a mineral linked to improvements in short- and long-term memory. (A handful of almonds or cashews, in particular, boasts about 25 percent of your daily requirement.) According to research from MIT and Tsinghua University in Beijing, magnesium seems to promote new connections between brain cells.

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Cook like an Italian

Not so much the pizza, but fish, veggies drizzled with olive oil, and a little meat and vino. With age, the brain starts to develop damage that can lead to difficulty with thinking and memory, but research shows that people who eat a Mediterranean diet are 36 percent less likely to have such damage.

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Go blue(berry)

Blueberries may help keep your brain firing. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that the fruit's wealth of anthocyanins -- the antioxidants that create the blue hue -- foster neuron-to-neuron communication in the brain, which may help delay memory loss.

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Relax to remember

Your busy life can make you so anxious that your brain simply can't take in new info, let alone remember it, a University of Rochester study found. Frank Felberbaum, president of Memory Training Systems in New York City and developer of memory workshops for major corporations, says regular deep breathing will help. A nature walk or yoga will quiet your mind, too.

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Play more word games

Exercising your word skills might protect against memory loss, a study in Neurology found. Get help with a daily word e-mail -- and pick up a book any chance you get.

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